DrumBeat: February 19, 2009

Oil-Price Decline Provides Diplomatic Opening to Iran

Last fall, before the world economy had fallen completely out of bed, the International Monetary Fund estimated that oil prices would have to stay at $90 a barrel for Iran to make enough money to balance its books.

Now that the slump in global economic activity has driven oil prices to around $36 a barrel, Iran, which derives 85% of government revenue from oil exports, figures to be awash in its own Washington-like red ink in the coming year. Throw in the fact that there's no reason to think the oil slump will end soon, and knowledge that energy-industry experts say Iran already has been failing to make the long-term technology investments needed to keep its oil fields producing robustly, and you suddenly have an interesting backdrop for U.S. President Barack Obama's "let's talk" overture to Tehran.

Big Oil says not to blame for rising pump prices

NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Reuters) - The American Petroleum Institute -- the country's main lobbying group for the U.S. oil industry -- defended U.S. energy companies on Thursday against criticism that lower refining activity is pushing gasoline prices higher for recession-wary drivers.

"We've heard people say, 'Oh, the refiners are trying to manipulate the prices,' but it just isn't true," API Chief Economist John Felmy told reporters on a conference call.

API figures show that U.S. refiners made a record amount of gasoline in January, and U.S. gasoline imports also rose in the month, even after government data showed demand for gasoline fell in 2008 for the first time since 1991.

Precision Drilling Slumps in Toronto After Postponing Debt Sale

(Bloomberg) -- Precision Drilling Trust fell to a 13-year low in Toronto after Canada’s largest oil and gas driller postponed a bond sale, citing weak demand.

Canadian Natural Resources likely to cut spending this year

CALGARY, Alberta -- Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. will likely cut spending this year from an already conservative budget as oil and gas prices stay mired below its expectations, a top executive said on Thursday.

Canadian Natural, the country's No. 2 independent oil explorer, will remove money earmarked for its natural gas operations if it does make cuts, as the outlook for prices for the fuel remains negative, Vice-Chairman John Langille said.

ANALYSIS/High hopes, concerns over Sakhalin-2

The start of natural gas production by the Sakhalin-2 project off Sakhalin, Russia, brings high expectations that Japan will be able to diversify its energy sources, but many remain concerned about the risks of doing business with Russia.

Exxon, Chevron Denied Hearing Over Canada Research Spending

(Bloomberg) -- Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and others involved in offshore oil production in eastern Canada lost a bid for a hearing before the country’s top court challenging a 2004 order requiring them to spend more on research.

Canada’s Supreme Court today denied the companies’ request appealing the order, which they say will cost millions of dollars. The court gave no reason for its decision.

BP to pay nearly $180 million over Texas refinery

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - BP Products North America Inc, a unit of BP Plc, has agreed to spend or pay nearly $180 million to resolve clear air law violations at its refinery in Texas City, Texas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice department said on Thursday.

Satellite photos used to detect oil seeps

US scientists said they have discovered they can use satellite images to detect oil seeping from oilfields beneath the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico.

Kyrgyzstan parliament votes to close key U.S. air base

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted Thursday to close a key U.S. air base in the country — a move that could hamper President Barack Obama's efforts to increase the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The Peak Oil Crisis: Parsing the Numbers

Someday peak oil will be about high gas prices and lines at the pumps, but for the time being it is mostly about numbers - lots and lots of numbers.

There are numbers for prices, numbers for oil reserves, numbers for oil demand, numbers for oil supply, numbers for oil depletion and most importantly numbers for the rates of change for all these numbers. For most people, all the thousands and thousands of numbers that pertain to the supply, demand, and costs for petroleum products are of absolutely no concern. The only thing that matters is the cost of a gallon of gas or perhaps heating oil which recently have been highly affordable.

Those who fondly believe that our economic troubles will be ending soon and that economic growth will return any day now might contemplate what the Director of The International Energy Agency said earlier this week. His message is a simple one: investment in new oil production has fallen so low that whenever an economic recovery occurs, the oil to support the recovery is unlikely to be there. Supplies will be inadequate and prices will rise much as they did last summer choking off the recovery. In the words of the headline writers "Oil crunch in 2010".

U.S., Canada to agree on energy pact: White House

OTTAWA - The United States and Canada will announce an agreement on Thursday to work together on energy technology that is environmentally friendly, including capturing and storing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, a White House official said.

"We are announcing an agreement to work together on clean energy technology," the official said.

"It will include elements like carbon capture and sequestration and the smart grid."

Brazil in deal to sell oil to China, seeks loan

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil reached a deal on Thursday to supply China with 100,000 to 160,000 barrels of oil per day at market prices, as the Asian country made its latest move to secure resources to fuel economic growth.

Financial Crisis May be Creating the Best Investment Opportunities of our Lifetime, Money Morning Expert Says

Longer-term, the world won’t realize that global demand is rising all along - despite what the statistics say - until the economic recovery stimulates oil demand again. Probably no more than five years from now. Eventually, the fundamentals of declining production, growing demand, and thin inventories will overwhelm today’s low prices. Which is why I think oil will be back at $212 dollars a barrel … a figure that’s downright conservative compared to Matthew Simmons [peak oil pundit and author of "Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy"], who’s on record predicting that oil prices will reach $500 a barrel.

BP Shut Flow Line After Spill Yesterday in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

(Bloomberg) -- BP Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company by market value, shut a flow line and 11 wells after a release of natural gas, crude oil and water yesterday, according to a regulatory filing.

“Production will be rerouted and is expected to resume tonight,” the filing showed yesterday. The size of the spill was not stated, and the cause of the release is under investigation, according to the report.

EDF Wins First Approval for Constellation Nuclear Buy

(Bloomberg) -- Electricite de France SA won initial U.S. approval for its $4.5 billion purchase of half of Constellation Energy Group Inc.’s nuclear-power business, in a bid to enter the U.S. electricity market.

Biofuel rocket engine gets test run: Biofuel is denser than traditional rocket fuel so more fits inside the tank

The U.S. aerospace industry is officially onboard the biofuel bandwagon, with the test fire of a small rocket engine that burns commercially available biodiesel.

California-based Flometrics did the honors and discovered the Rocketdyne LR-101 engine produced nearly the same amount of thrust burning biodiesel as it did chugging through a kerosene-based conventional rocket fuel.

Green wheel turns pedal bike into electric hog

The next time you change a bike tire, think about upgrading your power as well. Scientists at MIT are testing a new power generation, storage and propulsion system known as the GreenWheel that will turn any pedal bicycle into an electric hog.

"Just take the wheel off, put a GreenWheel equipped wheel on in its place, plug it in and it should work just fine," said Ryan Chin, one of the GreenWheel designers. "The whole thing has been designed so all the parts except the throttle are enclosed in the wheel."

Report examines links between water and energy

A new study using research from Cambridge Energy Research Associates examines such topics as the strategic significance of water, water's role in energy production, and how energy is used in providing water.

The report is titled "Thirsty Energy: Water and Energy in the 21st Century," and it is the product of a collaboration between the World Economic Forum and Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an IHS Inc. company also known as CERA.

One report finding: "Energy's share of water is likely to be squeezed in the future in many parts of the world."

Stuck in a Multi-Year Oil Demand Downturn?

Increasingly the economists and politicians discussing the current economic downturn are referencing the early 1980s recession, or in some cases the 1973-74 recession. Both of these recessions were hard and lasted about 16 months, whereas the current recession is only 13 months old, but is already a challenging one. There has also been talk by economists and stock market seers about how the current recession could morph into the next Great Depression. Unfortunately, a Great Depression comparison provides little help for investors trying to understand how energy markets might be affected. The International Energy Agency (IEA) in its recent oil demand forecasts has been commenting that the back-to-back declines of 2008 and 2009 would mark the first time for that to occur since 1982-1983, some 25 years ago.

Iraq was the first 'resource war' of the century

The Iraq war was just the first of this century's "resource wars", in which powerful countries use force to secure valuable commodities for themselves, according to the UK government's former chief scientific adviser.

Sir David King predicted that with human population growing, natural resources dwindling and seas rising because of climate change, the squeeze on the planet would lead to more conflict.

Mexico hopes to offset oil output drop

Faced with declining oil production at its most reliable source, officials at Mexico's state oil company PEMEX are hopeful that production at new fields both on and offshore -- bolstered by increased investment -- will keep the sector from collapse.

Mexico is now the third-largest supplier of oil to the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest figures, a drop from No. 2.

The longtime backbone of Mexican energy -- the Cantarell oil field -- is nearly at the end of its lifespan, according to PEMEX experts, who point to successive years of decreased production.

Oil Service Firms Prepare Bids for Mexico Chicontepec Work

Oil services companies are homing in this week on a massive drilling contract in Mexico, one of the few countries to boost oil investment this year despite the price collapse.

With drilling activity plummeting in traditional markets such as the U.S. and Canada, industry giants such as Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes are looking to expand in Mexico.

State oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos is spending heavily to halt a collapse in production that threatens to erase the country's exports in less than seven years.

Global crisis hits Mozambique Mozal aluminium project

MAPUTO (Reuters) - Mozambique's $2.5 billion Mozal aluminium smelter reported a loss of $115 million for the 2008 financial year and will have to cut staff due to the economic slowdown, a central bank document showed on Wednesday.

A fall in the price of aluminium hit the company's profits, and Mozal's power supply was cut by 10 percent after an energy crisis hit neighbouring South Africa.

IMF agrees $120 million for struggling Tajikistan

An impoverished Central Asian state with a population of 7.5 million and a long border with volatile Afghanistan, Tajikistan is currently caught in a massive energy crisis.

The government has implemented an energy rationing scheme, leaving the country with severe energy shortages.

Foreign oil tanker arrested in Sekondi … on orders of High Court

REPORTS REACHING The Chronicle from Takoradi in the Western Region suggest that a large oil tanker belonging to a foreign shipping Company, Tsakos Shipping and Trading Limited, has been detained for non-compliance of a Ghanaian court’s order to pay consultancy fees due a Ghanaian company, Inter-Afrique Holdings Ltd.

...Some staff of the VRA at Aboadze have raised serious concern about a possible shortage of fuel to power the Aboadze thermal plant if this matter is not quickly resolved.

Auto bailout tab could top $130 billion

GM and Chrysler say they need $21.6 billion more in loans. But that won't be enough to save Detroit. Here's a rundown of all the auto bailout proposals.

Food security (audio)

There are many who are extremely concerned by the threat posed to agriculture by climate change and a world running low on fossil fuels. But when Patrick Holden first started to consider the implications of trying to run his organic farm without fuel or even electricity, he became so alarmed he re-thought his entire philosophical approach to organic farming.

He explains why we need to fundamentally change the way we produce our food and how this shift can be achieved.

Egyptian Workers Strike against Fertilizer Export to Israel

In an unprecedented action, the first following the recent Israeli war on Gaza, workers of the Egyptian Fertilizers Company in Suez protested on Saturday, 7 February against the export of fertilizers to Israel.

Wholesale prices higher than expected

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The government's measurement of wholesale inflation rose more than expected in January, due largely to rising energy prices.

Family of 5 weathers economy with 7 housemates

Chris and Georgia Frankel have three children. But they've invited seven other people who are facing financial challenges to live with them. Rent is optional. "People were there for us and helped us when we needed it," Chris Frankel said. "We wanted to do the same."

The right way for L.A. to go solar

This basic ideal of the [Los Angeles Department of Water and Power] being a solar utility -- that piece of the total solar package, which is what we're talking about this morning, which is the piece on the ballot -- was a thought that I expressed in my book years ago. I don't have to tell this crowd about global warming and AB 32 and the 20% renewable standard; I mean, we all are dedicated -- and your editorials have recognized – we're dedicated to moving off of fossil fuels onto renewable energy.

So the issue is, is this a cost-effective, sensible way of doing it? And if you just take a broad view of things, what renewable energy do we have that we can harness? Well, here in Los Angeles, by God we have the sun….

Oklahoma nuclear power bill advances in committee

OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma lawmakers signaled their interest to go nuclear, approving legislation that would streamline the state's regulatory process and provide new incentives to build a nuclear power plant.

PBMR to run out of cash in 2010

Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) will run out of money in about a year and must adapt its novel nuclear technology to make itself commercially viable.

Eskom and the Industrial Development Corporation hold an 85 percent stake in the joint venture, with the remainder held by US-based Westinghouse.

Oilsands scare ads tough to counter

If oilsands politics were football, the world would get a penalty for piling on. Demonstrators scale a bridge in Ottawa. Ads show images of Canada dripping black goo on the United States. Even a top NASA official, James Hansen, says the oilsands shouldn't be mined.

All this draws about 1,000 times the usual publicity because President Barack Obama is in Canada today, trailing the world's most carbon-intensive media circus.

But here in Alberta, the government is strangely perky even as the fusillade grows in volume and impact.

INTERVIEW - NASA's Hansen concerned about Canada's oil sands

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Canada's oil sands are an environmental "wild card," NASA's James Hansen said in an interview before President Barack Obama's trip to Ottawa, where energy and climate change will be on the agenda.

As director of the U.S. space agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, with a focus on climate change, Hansen has long opposed the burning of oil, gas and coal for their contribution to global warming.

And he really objects to the burning of fuels gleaned from tar shale and tar sands in western Canada.

Oil demand may begin to peak soon: report

LONDON (Reuters) - World oil demand could begin to peak over the next decade as worries over security of supply, extreme price swings and climate change force a move towards other forms of energy, consultancy Arthur D. Little said.

In a report entitled "The Beginning of the End for Oil?," the consultancy's Peter Hughes suggests the extraordinary price moves over the last year, environmental pressures and concerns that most of the world's oil is imported from volatile regions has concentrated minds in the big consuming countries.

Oil hit an all-time high of almost $150 per barrel last July but has since tumbled more than 70 percent to around $40.

"The penny has dropped. To varying degrees, governments across the globe are acknowledging publicly, many for the first time, that decreasing reliance on imported oil -- and quickly -- is becoming an energy policy imperative," the report said.

Oil price to limit output rise in the Americas

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Oil production in the Americas is expected to climb only slightly this year with previous outlooks for Canada and Brazil looking too rosy after a collapse in crude prices turned an industry boom to bust.

Not road tripping: Americans drive fewer miles - again

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Americans drove fewer miles in December for the 14th month in a row, but the decline was not as steep as in previous months thanks to cheaper gasoline prices that encouraged additional travel in some states, the U.S. Transportation Department said Thursday.

Low prices may stir U.S. gasoline demand recovery

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Low gasoline prices are beginning to entice Americans to take to the roads again and may nurture a nascent rebound in gasoline demand after a year of high pump prices and the slumping economy throttled consumption.

U.S. gasoline demand rose by 0.1 percent in the four weeks ending February 6, according to government data. That marked the first four-week increase since last spring, when surging prices and a souring economy began to take a toll on road travel.

China moves to snap up bargain-basement oil

HONG KONG - China accelerated plans yesterday to secure its energy future while oil prices are cheap, with Beijing moving to triple the country's stockpile of refined oil products over the next three years.

The latest piece of Beijing's strategy, reported by the China Daily News, aimed at getting its energy infrastructure in order will see China establish three-million tons of oil product reserves this year, rising to 10 million tons by the end of 2011.

Chavez Plans 12% More Oil as Project Costs Rise, Credit Freezes

(Bloomberg) -- Venezuela plans to boost oil output at least 12 percent in a joint venture with foreign investors that will cost more than twice what the government previously estimated, a confidential document shows.

The project would increase Venezuela’s daily output of 3 million barrels a day by 400,000 barrels a day within seven years, according to the document, which was obtained by Bloomberg News. The project would cost $18.4 billion, the report says, up from Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez’s June estimate of $8 billion.

...“It will be very tricky for companies, big or small, to get that level of funding,” said David Thomson, a Latin America energy analyst for Wood Mackenzie in Edinburgh. “Even if there wasn’t a credit crunch on, raising $10 billion to $20 billion for Venezuela wouldn’t be the easiest.”

Exxon to shut Singapore plants March-April -sources

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp will partially shut its Singapore mainland refinery and petrochemical units on Jurong Island from March to April for routine maintenance, industry sources said on Thursday.

The sources said the U.S. energy giant will close a few units in the 309,000 barrels per day (bpd) mainland refinery from early-March to mid-April. Details of the units were not immediately available.

Pertamina’s Refinery Stays in Operation After Supply Disruption

(Bloomberg) -- PT Pertamina, Indonesia’s state oil company, kept its Balongan oil refinery in Java in operation by using existing oil stockpiles after a disruption to crude shipments, a company official said.

The company is repairing the so-called single point mooring facility, or the offshore loading point, Rukmi Hadihartini, processing director at the company, said in a mobile-phone text message today. The plant has a capacity of 125,000 barrels a day.

Ukraine's Naftogaz warns Gazprom of possible gas payment snags

KIEV (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's national energy company Naftogaz announced on Thursday it might face problems paying for natural gas supplied by Russia's Gazprom as debts of Ukrainian utility companies grow.

"The national joint stock company Naftogaz of Ukraine is giving notice of the possible deterioration of the situation with payments to Gazprom following a disastrous growth in utility companies' debts to its structures," Naftogaz said in a statement posted on its web site.

Ecuador expels second U.S. diplomat this month

Economic troubles due to plummeting oil revenues and immigrants' remittances are starting to worry Ecuadoreans who lived through a crippling financial crisis in 1999 that left thousands without their bank deposits and jobs.

The United States is Ecuador's main trading partner and the destination for much of its oil and banana exports.

Iran, Total to sign much-delayed gas deal

TEHRAN, (AFP) – Iran and Total of France are to sign a much-delayed deal to develop a key natural gas field, a report said.

The Mehr news agency quoted National Iranian Oil Company managing director Seyfollah Jashnsaz as saying Wednesday that the five billion dollar deal to develop the phase 11 of the South Pars gas field located in the Gulf would be signed by March 20.

Sales of new cars, trucks continue to fall

Sales of new cars and trucks this month are collapsing almost too fast to track.

The February sales pace through the first half of the month appears to be at an annualized rate of fewer than 9 million.

"Data collected from dealers suggests sub-9 million SAAR for February," says Jeff Schuster, forecasting chief for auto consultant J.D. Power and Associates. SAAR stands for seasonally adjusted annual rate, or total new vehicles sales if that month's pace held for a year.

That's well off January's 9.6 million pace, which had been considered about as bad as things could get. It was the first month with an annualized rate below 10 million since August 1982, says sales tracker Autodata. The last time consecutive months were that low was June-August 1982.

Propane Power

If Jack Roush has anything to say about it, propane soon will be used for more than grilling hamburgers and hot dogs at the infield cookout.

After Sunday’s Daytona 500 victory by Roush-Fenway NASCAR team driver Matt Kenseth, Roush was back at his headquarters outside Detroit this week to promote his company’s new line of propane-fueled Ford trucks and vans.

A veteran of racing and the automotive industry, Roush loves the sound of a snarling gasoline-powered V-8 as much as the next guy – probably more. But Roush sees alternative fuels as a positive step in the struggling U.S. auto industry’s journey out of the economic wilderness.

“We’re getting ready for the upswing here,” Roush said. “The automobile industry is going to survive. We’re going to morph ourselves into a shape where we can have better market share for the things that we do than we’ve had in the past. And life’s going to be good.”

US nuclear plants must prepare for plane attacks

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Firms building nuclear power stations will have to present designs that limit the possible effects of a large aircraft hitting the facility, the US nuclear energy watchdog said Wednesday.

The rules are designed to limit the impact of a potentially catastrophic September 11-style attack on reactors, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Tokyo Electric Seeks Local Approval to Start Reactor

(Bloomberg) -- Tokyo Electric Power Co. will ask the local government in Niigata prefecture today for authority to restart the world’s biggest nuclear plant, which caught fire and leaked radiation in a 2007 earthquake.

Russia could spend $7 bln on Turkish nuclear plants

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, Russia (Reuters) - Russia's energy minister said on Thursday that a state-backed consortium could spend up to $7 billion on a project to build four nuclear reactors in Turkey, whose total cost is $18-20 billion.

A Joint Statement of the U.S. Renewable Fuels Association and the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association on President Barack Obama's Visit with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

As America and Canada look for ways to provide economic opportunity, reduce the impacts of climate change, and develop renewable energy sources, the role of biofuels in the energy plans of both nations is becoming increasingly important. Both nations are investing in alternatives to imported oil. For his part, President Obama is pushing for a comprehensive and ambitious plan to invest in alternative and renewable energy to diversify the North American fuel supply, address climate change, and create green manufacturing jobs and a new green economy. The biofuels industry has been in the forefront of creating green jobs for decades.

America’s future wind web?

MADISON, S.D. - Out across this wind-swept, wheat-growing state, Jeffrey Nelson sees a new crop rising – electricity from the world’s largest wind-turbine farms sending electrons thousands of miles east to Chicago or Boston.

But it’s a vision the South Dakota Wind Energy Association president says will never happen without something far larger, more controversial, and even more expensive: gigantic new high-voltage transmission lines.

Is Alternative Energy Dead?

It’s almost axiomatic to say that we all care about the effects of global warming (hi Mr. Gore!). Nobody wants to swim down 5th avenue. But it really wasn’t until last year’s phenomenal oil spike that people started talking about alternative energy with any kind of practical fervor – and that brought investment dollars.

Oh, how times have changed.

Stimulus to propel energy jobs

Energy secretary says most utility construction projects slated for funding in the stimulus package are 'shovel-ready,' and could yield energy sector jobs soon.

Peak Oil: Facts At Your Fingertips

The following may indicate some of the more important “names and numbers” in the complex issue of peak oil and its consequences. Besides that of oil production itself, one curve for which the numbers are significant is that of human population, since the interaction of those two curves will be momentous. Other vital sets of figures are those in the quest for alternative energy and those for post-oil survival.

Mean epithets are the new catchphrases

A peaknik, according to our inventive media, is a person who believes the "peak oil" theory (that supplies of oil are running out and prices will grow prohibitively high and civilization will change dramatically). The word is an example of how ironic and derogatory terms become so widespread that they lose their ironic connotations.

Alaskan Coastal Erosion Doubles, Threatening Oil Exploration

(Bloomberg) -- Coastal erosion doubled in parts of northern Alaska over a five-year period as sea ice retreated during global warming, threatening some land-based oil exploration.

Erosion rates along a 37-mile (60-kilometer) stretch of the Beaufort Sea coast were 13.6 meters (45 feet) a year in 2002 through 2007 compared with 6.8 meters a year from 1955 through 1979, researchers led by Benjamin Jones at the U.S. Geological Survey said in a study.

Obama and Canada’s Controversial Oil Patch

In the unlikely event that Barack Obama has some free time during his first trip to a foreign country as president on Thursday, he can take in Ottawa’s first Tar Sands Film Festival.

It is just one of several events organized this week by environmentalists in Canada and the United States, as well as native groups, to encourage the new administration to put pressure on Canada over pollution from Alberta’s huge oil-extraction projects.

Officials: Lubricant oil leaking off Calif. coast

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A mixture of oil and water leaking Wednesday from an Exxon Mobil platform spread across a mile of ocean off the Southern California coast, federal and state officials said.

Initial reports indicated the leak on Platform Harmony came from a deck drainage tank where rainwater, lubricants and fluids drain into a sump, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Stephanie Young. She said the company reported the leak Monday and was still working Wednesday to stop the mixture from seeping into the Santa Barbara Channel.

WWF says whales leaving Sakhalin waters due to oil, gas projects

PETROPAVLOVSK KAMCHATSKY (RIA Novosti) - Oil and natural gas development off the coast of Sakhalin Island in Russia's Far East could have forced endangered whales to leave their habitat in the area, a local WWF spokesperson said on Thursday.

The change in habitat by part of the grey whale population "was probably due to oil and gas projects in Sakhalin," Alexandra Filatkina said, citing a chief whale researcher in the Far Eastern branch of Russia's Academy of Sciences.

Monbiot: George Will's climate howlers

I have put George Will forward not because his latest column on climate change has a hope of winning this prestigious award, but because it affords us a fascinating insight into how certain myths pass through the media unchallenged.

All these howlers are examples of stories that, for climate change deniers, are too good to check. They come up again and again on websites and in newspapers, which accept them without examination. Perhaps because George Will is one of the paper's star columnists, they have now found their way into the Washington Post, which prides itself on fact-checking.

Forests absorb 20 percent of fossil fuel emissions: study

LONDON (Reuters) – Tropical trees have grown bigger over the past 40 years and now absorb 20 percent of fossil fuel emissions from the atmosphere, highlighting the need to preserve threatened forests, British researchers said Wednesday.

Using data collected from nearly 250,000 trees in the world's tropical forests over the past 40 years, their study found that tropical forests across the world remove 4.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Two very interesting but contradictory articles up top:

Oil demand may begin to peak soon: report (because of alternative energy).


Is Alternative Energy Dead?

Does anyone know what they are talking about?



For sure the person just laid off in exurbia is having less demand at any price. Job hunting is mostly on the internet. And, their kids are riding the school bus and the extra car stays home.

Hugh Ebbut wrote a piece about this very subject.

Defining Times: A Chance to Shape a Better World?

Appeared in World Energy Monthly Review next to a piece called Riders on the Storm by the Financial Sense News Hour host Jim Puplave.


Both are a good read.

Investors are grabbing for dangled karats

"We're selling 10 times the amount we were selling a year ago," says Arthur Blumenthal, representative for Stack's, a Manhattan bullion and coin dealer. Even as department stores slash prices, the price of gold has soared from a low of $713 in October. Wednesday, as the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 0.75 points, gold leaped nearly $11 to $977.70 an ounce.

The sizzle in this steak: fear. Terror that the economic system will collapse. Worries that the government will run the printing presses to pay the massive bailout program, fueling inflation and weakening the currency. "Gold is almost an insurance policy," Blumenthal says. "It will always be there, and always pay."

Pawnshops see an uptick in the broke and the broken-hearted

As people face today's struggling economy, any sentimental value a ring may have is increasingly being weighed against the real-world value of diamonds and gold that's selling for $978.20 a troy ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

There is a brisk business for rings, both online and at pawnshops and gold dealers, industry members say.

Many seek their money as Stanford fallout spreads

ST. JOHN'S/CARACAS (Reuters) - People scrambled on Wednesday to get back their money from firms linked to Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, as fallout from U.S. fraud charges against him spread from the United States and the Caribbean to Latin America and Europe.

And Paleocon was right. Denninger has decided he hates Obama's foreclosure prevention plan.

It truly astounds me that so many wealthy people have all their money in one investment house. I wouldn't want to do that with a name-brand broker, and can't imagine doing it with a small shop.

The promise of high returns seems to make even intelligent people turn off their brains.

Probably the worst-hit and least-resilient will be the small-time bank depositors overseas, though. They are likely to be out their cash entirely, if the local gov't doesn't have an FDIC-style program.

I am increasingly happy with a stack of bills in my safe. Even then I'm increasingly thinking I need to diversify my storage locations. It's hard to find really safe places to keep valuables.

I'd be happy to review your security system if you'd please forward me all the particulars of your current hoard...

Your first paragraph refers to wealthy people, your second equates wealth to intelligence. The age old myth that the wealthy deserve their gains as they are so intelligent, or otherwise superior in some way. Bullshit. The reality is that our society does a piss-poor job of distributing rewards such as wealth to those who are deserving in some way, such as for having intelligence (and using it in some way that benefits the society). One consequence of a rigged cleptocracy is that those with wealth are often idiots.

our society does a piss-poor job of distributing rewards such as wealth to those who are deserving in some way

Are you saying that Hollywood, professional sports and corporate upper management isn't deserving? Say it ain't so.

As a sociopolitical matter, we must conclude that the actors and players, at least, must be deserving. Why else are such vast hordes of people willing to stand in long lines to hand them money, or willing to fork over gargantuan cable or satellite TV fees to subsidize their princely lifestyles, or willing and eager to squander countless tens of billions in scarce public money on stadiums and the like?

I suppose the average nebbish must simply be too utterly stupid to figure out anything to do with a spare Saturday afternoon but fork over money like that (never mind the vast blobby rolls of jiggling bouncing fat suggesting that he or she might benefit from a spot of exercise instead of watching somebody else exercise.) And given that said nebbish holds silly actors and players of moronic games in such high and limitless esteem, who's to say that upper managers, some of whom might, once in a blue moon, do something actually useful, such as coordinate the supply of necessary goods and services, aren't just as deserving?

So I dunno, but if I go by the actions of the stupid nebbish, rather than by the empty (but oh so politically-correct) maunderings of humanities professors and other Marxists presuming to speak for him or her, then maybe, on the whole, the original equation wasn't nearly as far off-base as it might have seemed.

Re: Foreclosure prevention plan.

Since "everyone" agrees that a housing recovery is necessary for an economic recovery, it stands to reason that renters are slackers who aren't doing their fair share to aid in the housing recovery. Therefore, I propose the Fair Allocation of Recovery Taxes (FART) Program.

Renters would be taxed on a sliding scale. The lower their rent is relative to income, the higher the tax they would pay. Conversely, the higher the mortgage payments that homeowners make relative to their income, the greater the subsidy that they would receive.

I smell a loophole here.

The house is paid off, and I don't rent. In your new "FART" plan, I guess I get the equivalent of a Black Jack player's "push"?

Edit: Never mind, your plan actually punishes me 200%.

That plan stinks!

Another option: Since bankers can sell a mortgage base in slices to multiple investors without notice, why can't we have debtors sell the house in pieces to other buyers?

A simple non-qual assumption of the entire house (a proxy NINJA mortgage) would suffice for some, but the more adventurous could sell rooms out of their house, and those buyers could further choose to sublet. Truly enterprising sellers could time-share, or just sell the same room more than once for unlimited profit. Once the new mortgages totaled more than the original, the first buyer would be off the hook, and the bank and investors would have to deal with the new sub-buyers.

I don't see why we all can't play in the funny-money real-estate game. I'd call it the Unencumbered Purchasing of Undervalued Real-estate via Subdividing - UP-URS.

That plan would be very palatable to the minority in Congress. Reverse logic seems to be their stock in trade, no matter who is in the minority.

And, it would be in keeping with the spirit of cooperation which has prevailed there for the last 28 years.

We could also let owners sell derivatives on the likelihood of a foreclosure and/or of a change in interest rate. By selling enough counter-weighted short derivatives on his foreclosure probability an owner could guarantee that his house would never foreclose, and based on that knowledge he could preserve a very good "default swap" rating from the HOA. Each owner in the neighborhood could trade credits with other homeowners, who would have a vested interest in every other house not foreclosing as well.

Once that's working well, we'll sell futures on equity gains and swaps for local tax increases and various sorts of insurance as well.

Real-estate will be risk-proof and profitable for all! Especially my sideline swaps-accounting business sponsored by the HOA.....

Now that hurt my ribs. Too damn funny. Thanks Paleocon!

I don't see why it is funny. In essence that is exactly the model of "financial innovation" introduced by Wall Street that culminated in the current melt down.

That's why it is funny.

Jeesh, don't they teach humor theory anymore?

What's funny is that no one sees this as evidence of criminal collusion. Where is RICO when you need it?

I hope your accounting business is able to stay ahead of the Arthur Andersen-types who were always looking for an opportunity to expand. They seemed to specialize in matters too complicated for the human mind, so your plan should fit right in with their expertise.

Can you say, "exit strategy"? Who wouldn't want to sell and become a highly-paid consultant?

I often find that non-US observers often have a much more objective and honest take on what is happening here. This is Wm. Buiter's latest comments on this "foreclosure prevention" potlatch:

The extreme fiscal largesse bestowed on residential housing, directly and indirectly through mortgage interest deductibility, has led to a massive misallocation of investment in the US. There has been overinvestment in the private residential housing stock and underinvestment in just about every other form of fixed capital: infrastructure, public amenities of all kinds (sports facilities, public recreational facilities, parks etc.), commercial structures, plant and equipment. It is time to correct the distorted incentives that are at the root of this misallocation. The easiest way to do this, in the current tax system, is to end the deductibility of mortgage interest in the personal income tax, close down Fannie and Freddie and end the role of the US government in the provision of residential mortgages. A focused social housing program is of course a legitimate activity of the Federal government.


The quasi-socialised, opaque system of residential mortgage financing in the US is wasteful and distortionary to a degree that is truly staggering. How can this grotesquely distortionary and deeply unfair system be killed off when so many undeserving over-indebted homeowners who also happen to be marginal voters, so many politically well-connected interest groups and so many influential politicians all have their snouts in the trough? It is clear that the Obama administration far from using the opportunity sent by the crisis to cut the mortgage monster down to size, is instead feeding it and beefing it up further.

The fiscal and quasi-fiscal costs of this massive subsidization of residential mortgages will become apparent during the years to come, as mortgage related government expenditures rise and revenues fail to materialise. But that will be then – sometime in the future. This is now. And now always wins. Myopia, opportunistic behaviour and insider protection: welcome to US home financing policy.

IMO Denninger is correct in his view of Obama's foreclosure prevention plan - Fraud Coverup!

This entire "crisis" is not an accident - in any way, shape or form. We will not get out of this mess until we recognize that we are here as a consequence of a massive, financial-system-wide campaign of fraud and theft that became pervasive through Washington DC and Wall Street, and when the punch bowl threatened to run dry the prime actors came back to the well in DC demanding - and got - the ability to "lever it up" even more!

Instead of preventing foreclosures, we should let them happen.
And, stop bailing out the banks too. If they suffer from mistakes, then they will have some deterrent. If they continue to get bailed out, then the fraud will continue......

I liked Obama going to the home of fraud itself, namely Arizona, to reveal his plan. (I was ripped off by some fraudsters in that state years ago so I'm bitter.) And it is good PR for him to highlight Arizonan McCain who has sided with his fellow Republicans in opposition to his rescue plan.

Some say that Obama should have done the announcing instead of Geitner the other day. There aren't many votes in bail outs for the banks so it was wise for Gietner to do it. But bail outs for the underwater home owners in Arizona is a sure winner. Makes McCain and the Republicans squirm.

Denninger thinks the money lost in all the fraud has disappeared. It hasn't. It's just in different pockets.

Who has it? People who sold their property during the height of the bubble have some. The Wall Street gang who enabled the fraud have a lot of it. The builders and real estate people who fed off the whole thing have some. And states that didn't get caught up so much in the real estate craziness have lost less than California, Arizona and Florida for example.

From the point of view of the Government, it matters little who's pocket the money is in or how it got there as long as they pay taxes. It matters some if the fraud wrecks the economy because there will be a political price to pay. "W" and the Republicans have paid the price for their incompetence.

Denninger's apocalyptic tone overstates the situation in my opinion. The big dollar numbers being thrown around are so large as to be meaningless to most, including myself. What he forgets is that that the dollar becomes ever more worthless each year. And eventually when it is worth zero those great big numbers are also worth zero.

Postage, my favorite inflation statistic, is going up again to 44 cents this May. When I started working at the Post Office in 1980 a stamp was 15 cents. Now I have to divide all prices by 3 to keep my head screwed on straight. That's the trouble with getting old: you remember how it use to be.

Postage, my favorite inflation statistic, is going up again to 44 cents this May. When I started working at the Post Office in 1980 a stamp was 15 cents. Now I have to divide all prices by 3 to keep my head screwed on straight. That's the trouble with getting old: you remember how it use to be.

I'm just old enough to remember pasting a three cent stamp on an envelope (although I must have been VERY little at the time). Gosh, that is making me feel old, now!

that $ 0.41 invested in forever stamps in may '07 is paying off better than many. about 3.7 % aror, not adjusted for inflation.

Does anyone else think that Allen Stanford looks a but like the fictional Brian Butterfield? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjnuBTPOaKY

Re: Monbiot: George Will's climate howlers

It's interesting to see the British press point out the errors of George Will's op-ed piece. One would think that the U.S. media would have fact checked the piece before running it. Of course, Old George has been a stalwart supporter of the conservatives, so he gets a "pass" on whether he is truthfully presenting facts. One wonders how long it will be before the Neocons start to realize that disinformation and lying is bad.

E. Swanson

"One wonders how long it will be before the Neocons start to realize that disinformation and lying is bad."

When the cow jumps over the moon. Disinformation and lying, which amount to the same thing, is the MO of the extremists, who in the US call themselves conservative (almost everywhere else in the world, anyone with Obama's politics would be considered a conservative).

One wonders how long it will be before the Neocons start to realize that disinformation and lying is bad.

The same day they realize that disinformation and lying won't further their agenda. Unfortunately, it often does.

People have been conditioned to believe the experts. George Will and his ilk pass themselves off as experts.

To borrow a phrase from the Dubya, ""There's an old saying in Tennessee—I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again."

People have been conditioned to believe the experts.

And why not? Experts do have experience and can tell you 'don't do that' or 'do this'.

Such 'conditioning' usually is helpful - when the 'expert' is an 'expert' and their adjenda it to be correct and helpful.

In OECD countries we live in a world of experts ... but, having heard many 'experts' give evidence in the UK House of Commons, I conclude you only need experts to tell you what to do TODAY.

Experts are worse than TOTALLY useless for predicting the future ... for that you need the generalist (with a wide view of how the world works) who can see why the expert view is totally wrong ... usually missing a massive Liebert's minimum ... even then, when you point out the weakness in their arguments 'experts' generally have so much hubris they can't see any problem! Sigh!

Sadly, the British Government only asks 'experts' for opinions ... thus the future will likely be full of many more 'unexpected' (to the experts) Liebert's minimums resulting in massive unnecessary systems failures!

The real problem is that people are intellectually lazy and have not been taught how to think critically. They prefer to be told what the answer is.

It's very discouraging to teach science to people only to find that half of them believe what you say because you're an expert and have whatever degrees and are therefore a credible authority figure... NOT because they have weighed the evidence in their own minds and reached a similar conclusion.

The real problem is that people... have not been taught how to think critically.

Public education in the US is structured so as to preclude the development of critical thinking skills in students. The PTB couldn't tolerate an electorate & workforce capable of critical thinking. Hence, the schools they fund & control are structured in such a way as to ensure that it never happens. People develop critcal thinking ability in spite of their education, certainly not as the outcome of it.

Def: Expert
Noun, compounded from X , unknown
and Spurt, a drip under pressure.

The funny thing is, by some definitions I'd be a "liberal" as well:

Ash’s minimal definition of liberalism fits in well with how I have used the word here, primarily based upon values including support for individual liberty, free markets, restoring Constitutional limitations on the power of government, equality, science, and reason.

  • http://liberalvaluesblog.com/?p=6756
  • Our definition of liberal varies within the US, and more-so around the world. Of late liberals are labeled based on social leanings, while both so-called liberals and neo-cons often embrace large government. Libertarian is more what many around the world consider liberal, but here it's a fringe more closely aligned with anarchists than progressives.

    A "Liberal" thinks and acts as if the current political or social structure can be changed for the better by working through reform within the system. With a superstition based economic philosophy like capitalism, they believe by constraining certain actions, they can make the system work for the majority.
    A revolutionary sees the problem a systemic, and one needs to terminate the system, and bring on new ideas and organizations.
    A Libertarian is just a capitalist who likes to sell dope, and doesn't want anyone infringing on lifestyle choices.

    One wonders how long it will be before the Neocons start to realize that disinformation and lying is bad.

    They have long realized that disinformation and lying are bad for their opponents. Especially given the American Media who give at least equal weight to lies as truth. Wasn't it Himmler who said that a lie reapeated often enough becomes the truth?

    Lying and cheating is endemic throughout Washington. People tend to believe the lies their party tells, and not believe the truths of the others. Is seems that every major cheat and failed institution (Madoff, Stanford, GS, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac) heavily supported both parties, and focused on those areas that oversee their suspect operations. Now many of those same people are in the cabinet (as they were for Bush as well).

    I'd say it's working fine for all concerned, except businessmen and taxpayers.

    Yep, they've gotten themselves the best government that money can buy.

    The USA = crony capitalist banana republic (except that we don't grow our own bananas!)

    I beg to differ, sir-I've got a banana tree in the backyard just coming back from the freeze (in Orlando, FL).

    I'd keep that quiet if I were you, or the next thing you know TPTB in Washington will be taxing away half of your bananas, so that they can give away twice that many to people that don't have enough bananas. It will all be part of the Banana Adjustment Redistribution Fund, you know.

    Good news indeed. I'm out in Winter Springs and noted just yesterday evening that mine also were just starting to come back.

    The papaya on the other hand... :(

    And I still don't know about the 2 year old mango.

    Ahhh, you probably got a little colder than I. I have a friend that lives on some springs near the 417 and Spring Av. and I need to go see how he fared.

    I saw that Home Depot had cut the top off their banana trees so I did the same, seems to have done the trick. I trimmed the mango also, mine was a few years old and near the house so only the last years growth died. Haven't seen any new growth yet.

    My newly planted orange and lime tree seem to have enjoyed it.

    Good luck to you and your plants!

    It's Goebbels who is credited with that line.

    California finally has a budget.

    The final plan incorporated most of the framework of the original budget compromise from Democratic and Republican leaders. It included billions of dollars in cuts to schools, healthcare institutions, higher education and programs for the poor. If signed by Schwarzenegger, who helped devise the package, it also would raise personal income taxes and the state sales tax, although a 12-cent per-gallon increase in gasoline taxes was eliminated in the final hours.

    Even with gas prices (relatively) low, in a state that supports energy conservation and environmental protection, during a severe budget crisis...you can't raise taxes on gasoline.

    So this saves 20,000 jobs for, what, another 6 months? If unemployment goes up a little more, houses go down a little more, and spending slows, won't they be right back in the same spot?

    Will they actually be able to borrow the planned billions, I wonder?

    Even with gas prices (relatively) low, in a state that supports energy conservation and environmental protection, during a severe budget crisis...you can't raise taxes on gasoline.

    As I was telling a truck driver last night, new taxes simply will not fly in the current economic environment. Sigh

    There are plenty of new taxes in California's new budget. Income taxes and sales taxes were raised significantly.

    I stand corrected. What's the rationale preventing the fuel tax?

    My guess is that it was a sop to anti-tax Republicans. Probably threw it overboard because it would generate less revenue than the other taxes.

    That, and it's one of the most visible to the voters.

    One article said the last of 3 Reps to sign had a laundry-list of stipulations, and that was one. I'm sure it wasn't a hard item to strike at that point.

    CA will be the model for the changes needed in the country overall, when borrowing can't fund massive programs. Either taxes will go up or spending will go down, but lifestyle will have to deflate either way.

    No kidding. The 1% sales tax increase will apply to gas as well, so there's a few cents a gallon.

    In one respect, this is a good time to be unemployed in California. The income tax surcharge won't apply to me, and I'm not buying anything so the sales tax increase won't apply either. The gas tax wouldn't have applied since I don't go anywhere except by bicycle.

    That income tax surcharge will require withholdings to be increased which will more than offset the payroll tax decrease in the Stimulus Plan by my math.

    What a mess. However, California spending increased at close to the same rate as housing prices increased during the bubble, so I think it's appropriate to start firing all those extra state workers that were unnecessarily hired. CA spending makes US spending seem downright prudent by comparison.

    Well, here is a link that has the Republican who held out until the gas tax was dropped -- with two of the three top contributors as oil companies. Funny, he represents the area with the Big West refinery which nobody wants.

    Roy Ashburn

    Well, us Californians finally got our budget passed. Guess how? They dropped the gas tax increase. Big surprise...

    That should make my neighbor, who only six months ago was asking me about my Prius, took delivery of a new Suburban yesterday.

    I have noticed an increasing number of new, or nearly new, SUVs driving around here of late. The more interesting point is that I also see more expired paper dealer tags than ever before. It seems like people are buying new SUVs and trucks because they think the deal is to good to pass up, even though they don't even have money for the tag.

    I wonder how far ahead the typical person looks? I would think "the life of the loan" at least, but I'm beginning to really doubt that.

    California is required to take the registration money out at the time of purchase, so it can't be that here. However, the already super-efficient DMV is now closed every other week which I suppose could be slowing things down. If that's even possible. The joke around here is that the DMV was closed, but no one in line even noticed.

    May have something to do with not paying insurance?

    Usually sales tax has to be paid before you can obtain your tags. So they purchased the vehicle somehow, but couldn't afford to pay the sales tax on the vehicle. In Arkansas, all you have to do is make sure that you don't purchase a vehicle for more than $2499, and you won't have to pay sales tax. Ever since my first new car, after that I've only purchased cheap used ones. My daily driver cost me $350 cash, plus some time of my repairing it. :)

    Remember the guy who froze to death when a limiter was installed because he hadn't paid his electricity bills? The issue wasn't lack of money.

    Man who froze had history of late utility payments

    (CNN) -- Marvin Schur may have been worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the World War II veteran was chronically late in paying his utility bills during the two years before he froze to death last month at age 93 in his home in Bay City, Michigan, after his power was cut off.

    His family says he had at least $600,000 in the bank. He just couldn't remember to pay...or remember how to pay.

    Yes, and I heard he bequeathed all of his money to a local hospital. I hope that is true because the good-for-nothing son that didn't check on him sure doesn't deserve it.

    How nice of his family to help this waning old man paying his bills in time.

    I have heard of cases where people who could not count their change let alone write a check, and had alienated all relatives by unremitting verbal and physical abuse are sent home to live alone because they don't want to go to a nursing home. And being allowed to manage your own finances is based on flimsy tests of "competence". It comes down to unwillingness to take people's basic rights from them in a democracy. No question systems should be put into place to avoid cutting people off essential services without a case by case review.

    To participate, residents have to enroll and place a sticker inside their mailbox. Mail carriers who notice mail accumulating or anything else that seems abnormal are instructed to notify authorities to check on the resident.

    Carriers are Federal employees. The city commission is advancing this procedure. I suspect there's a bit more story going on - wonder if the locals are performing oversight ?

    Jobless Claims Hit All-Time High
    The U.S. is paying benefits to nearly 5 million people who don't have jobs.

    The number of unemployed workers receiving unemployment benefits jumped to an all-time high near 5 million earlier this month, while new jobless claims remain well above 600,000. Both figures were worse than expected and new projections from the Federal Reserve show unemployment rising for the rest of this year.

    When will unemployment benefits run dry?
    When will they peak?

    They won't peak this year.

    There seems to be a continuing effort to white-wash economic news. Each month the numbers aren't "as bad" as expected, compared to previous months, which are continually being revised downward. Propping up the current month while knocking down earlier months always makes today look rosy, comparatively speaking. If estimation errors always bias one direction, it's high time to update the model.

    The New York-based Conference Board said Thursday that its January index of leading economic indicators rose 0.4 percent. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected no change in the index, which forecasts economic activity for the next three to six months based on 10 economic components, including stock prices, building permits and initial claims for unemployment benefits.

    The Conference Board said the single biggest boost to the index was the real money supply. The government's effort to address the credit crisis has put more money in circulation. Other positive factors were the interest rate spread, an index of consumer expectations, and manufacturing orders for non-defense and consumer goods.

    Last month's gain compared with a 0.2 percent increase in December and a drop of 0.7 percent in November. Those measures were revised down from prior estimates.

    As a general rule, when I see a "bad" number reported in the MSM, I mentally multiply by 2, and when I see a "good" number reported in the MSM, I mentally divide by 2. I figure that this starts to get me someplace close to the actual truth of the matter.

    Even Yahoo Finance says "DOW hovers around 3-month low", when what it really means to say "DOW is currently lower than its 52-week close (and flirting with the 52-week intraday low), which leaves only 2 days since 1997 that were any lower, and even then not by much".

    Sure, the 3-month low is accurate, but it was also the 52-week low, and it's also the 5-year low, and just about the 12-year low. By any meaningful measure the markets have lost all the gains of the past decade, and they're staying gone despite some minor rallies.

    I doubt once it breaks the 7000 level that you'll hear much about it retracing the years as it slides back through the growth of the 90's, either. Instead, investors are "searching for direction" or "worried about the upcoming job report", not "taking their money and running".

    I wonder how much money people are comfortable having at home? How much is really too much cash to have on hand?

    I wonder how much money people are comfortable having at home? How much is really too much cash to have on hand?

    Probably a function of neighborhood, risk tolerance and the size of your safe.

    I'm not keeping cash in the safe, but I am keeping gold, silver, and some other "valuables" in it. But it's a small safe and would probably be full before my tolerance for risk (versus a safe deposit box) would be exceeded.

    You'd actually trust a safe deposit box? I'd been considering putting some cash away into one but...


    Makes those little fire-resistant safes that bolt to the floor from the inside pretty nice lookin'

    bolted to the floor would make sense, but don't you want to disguise it in a cabinet or put a small one in the wall behind a picture? it may be better to put the loot in a number of places and for that reason, safe deposit boxe(s) would be helpful, and hope you don't end up with alzhiemers.

    Hillary Clinton: U.S. Preparing for Possible Regime Change in North Korea

    How will this effect Asia?
    Good or bad?

    maybe they think they can get all the cannon fodder they want from the newly unemployed?

    Any regime change in NK will involve an expansion of Chinese sphere of influence, if anything. The US will have precious little to say or do about it.




    Essentially, China has attempted to justify claims on territory that match their agendas. They cagily do not claim all of Korea, only down to the Han River valley, i.e. Seoul.

    When or if NK collapses, China will step in. My personal view is that there will be a bloodless, behind the scenes takeover where NK is left intact but is essentially annexed to China.


    With the four week job loss averages holding above 625,000. One might extrapolate 625,000 X 12 = 7.5 million jobs lost per year. Roughly 2/3 of the population is in the workforce, that is about 200 million people, thus the unemployment is increasing at an annual rate of roughly 4%. At this rate we might see the unemployment rate go from 7.6% to above 10% by the end of the year.

    With the new-new deal, government is trying to spend its way out of recession by giving away money. The price index jumped 8/10 of a percent in one month. If this inflation rate is steady, we might see 9.6% annual inflation.

    Hormel might be hiring. SPAM is recession-proof!

    I bought a few cans for my emergency-supply a few weeks ago. I cooked up one can, as my kids had never eaten it.

    While my wife and I were happily nostalgic, recalling occasional family breakfasts or dinners that served it, the kids were mostly non-plussed. I guess it's an acquired taste?

    I did note that it doesn't have the coating of gelatinous fat that it used to have anymore, or the laceration-prone key.

    Your problem was that you failed to mentally prepare the kids by showing them the Monty Python Spam Sketch on the TV first.

    I was killing myself trying to remember where I'd read about spam not having the geletin coating anymore - and it took a while, but it was a local paper...which is available online...


    The gel is gone! The clear, fatty gel that once encased each block of Spam was eliminated in 2001, when Hormel added potato starch to the mix to absorb the gelatinous grease. The only Spam buyers who miss the gel are those who apparently liked using it—believe it or not—as furniture polish.

    Spam Lite might seem like an oxymoron, but it’s for real. Compared to Spam Classic, Lite tastes meatier, probably because the salt and fat are toned down enough to allow you to actually taste the main ingredient. Classic has a more pleasing, melty, fatty texture, but it’s almost too salty to be eaten by itself.

    Entertaining article.

    I didn't like Spam as a child, despite being raised with it. It was too salty. (I didn't like ham, bacon, or sausage, either.) I was one of those kids who always ate foods separately. (I used to get upset if my mom let two different foods touch on my plate.) So I didn't "get" the idea of cutting the salt by eating it with other foods.

    My mom used to boil slices of Spam in hot water, both to warm it and to reduce the saltiness.

    As an ex island boy, never saw Spam, Budweiser, or Tabasco sales decline.

    Exactly! Take that spam and turn it into Musubi and see how they like it. My daughter is addicted to the stuff. :)

    The actual inflation rate average for 2008 was 3.85%


    I was reading the data wrong, although I recall the price of gasoline was reported up 15% in January.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 150 million people in the work force.

    I think you may have been forgetting about children and seniors when you used your 2/3 estimate, that sounds more like the number of working age adults in the workforce.

    But I don't think that takes away from your main point - that same report linked above says that over the last 12 months the number of unemployed has increased by more than 4 million to 11.6 million.

    But the situation is actually worse as more than 1.5 million have been removed from the labor force just since the third quarter of 2008.

    That's 625,000 per week!!!!

    and from http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/current.htm

    In the week ending Feb. 14, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 627,000, unchanged from the previous week's revised figure of 627,000. The 4-week moving average was 619,000, an increase of 10,500 from the previous week's revised average of 608,500.

    So your number should be 625,000 X 52 = 32,500,000 People applying for initial unemployment this year


    If you use the figure of 150,000 million people in the workforce you get a much higher growth rate of unemployment. If you use the four week moving average of the four week average you back date your curve. If 2.4 million jobs were being lost per month, then you lose almost 30 million jobs a year. Some people get hired P/T or find other jobs as some hiring is occurring, check the help wanted section. Some are not classified as looking for work, thus they are not counted as unemployed. How often does one have to "loof for work" to get noticed by the Census Bureau? With the 150 million workforce as a minimum and 30 million job losses per year, that is 20 percent annual new unemployment. The 627,000 job losses are thought to be a four week average ending the previous week. Since some of the layoffs are not temporary, or due to bankruptcy, the unemployment rate is likely to be higher at the end of the year than at the end of this week.

    And just how many of that 150 million are Government workers that seldom or never get laid off?
    The productive economy may be getting hammered much worse than suspected?

    Natural gas stocks are 9.7 percent greater than this time last year. Warmer weather, new drilling technology, new shale gas fields, and new pipeline completions are leading to a glut of natural gas.


    Not in Europe though...

    And I think you're over-egging the pudding with "glut" even in the USA. As the EIA states: "At 1,996 Bcf, total working gas is within the 5-year historical range."

    Working Gas in Underground Storage Compared with 5-Year Range

    Note: The shaded area indicates the range between the historical minimum and maximum values for the weekly series from 2004 through 2008.
    Source: Form EIA-912, "Weekly Underground Natural Gas Storage Report." The dashed vertical lines indicate current and year-ago weekly periods.

    But natural gas is still mostly a regional market - and the North American market looks like it could fall much more...

    Withdrawals were more than 75% below normal on slightly warmer weather, and the industrial production numbers continue to slide!

    What prevents natural gas from falling to ~$3 per MMBtu (some tie to 10-1 with oil?)? As winter comes to a close, natural gas may fall toward $3 - unless natural gas production already starts to dip (which it sounds like that won't happen until summer or fall...)

    If interested, I write more about today's report at:



    Just drove past my friendly neighborhood CNG station -- $1.04 per gallon-equivalent. So far it's cheaper and less volatile than gas.

    you use the term volatile loosely. a lot of people mascarding as petroleum engineers dont seem to understand it either, in my experience.

    I use it in the term of rapid price fluctuations, not any gas-pressure or flammability connotations. Simply that the prices hasn't gone up or down much in the past year, compared to gas. I didn't keep notes, but I think a low of $.80 and a high of $1.15 was the range I've seen.

    Gas, on the other hand, went from $1.30 to about $4.00 in that same period.

    Yes, it's industrial consumption falling that seems to be the main contributor at the moment (according to the EIA). The one factor not mentioned by rainsong.

    EIA: Short term energy outlook

    Consumption. Total natural gas consumption is projected to decline by 1.3 percent in 2009 and then increase by 0.6 percent in 2010 (Total U.S. Natural Gas Consumption Growth). The expectation of limited weather-driven consumption growth in the residential and commercial sectors in 2009 is outweighed by the implications of continued economic weakness in the industrial and electric power sectors. Consumption in the industrial and electric power sectors is expected to decline by 5.1 and 1.0 percent, respectively, in 2009.

    Production and Imports. Total U.S. marketed natural gas production is expected to rise slightly in 2009 and fall by 1.1 percent in 2010. The dramatic decline in drilling activity, as total working natural gas rigs have declined by more than 31 percent since August 2008, is expected to contribute to lower production during the second half of 2009.

    U.S. imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are expected to reach about 369 billion cubic feet (Bcf) in 2009, a slight increase over the volume received in 2008. Shipments of LNG to the United States this year will be affected by the timing of supply additions in Russia, Norway, Qatar, and Yemen and the status of global natural gas inventories in LNG-consuming regions. In 2010, U.S. LNG imports are projected to be about 463 Bcf.

    Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending February 13, 2009

    U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.1 million barrels per day during the week ending February 13, up 16 thousand barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 82.3 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production rose last week, averaging nearly 8.8 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased slightly last week, averaging 4.1 million barrels per day.

    U.S. crude oil imports averaged nearly 8.8 million barrels per day last week, down 859 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.5 million barrels per day, 283 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 826 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 477 thousand barrels per day last week.

    U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased 0.2 million barrels from the previous week. At 350.6 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels last week, and are in the upper half of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories decreased last week while gasoline blending components inventories increased during this same time. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.8 million barrels, and are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories decreased last week by 3.2 million barrels and are near the upper limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 6.2 million barrels last week and are above the upper limit of average range for this time of year.

    What was expected:

    US inventories data due out later in the session were expected to show a rise of 3m barrels in crude stocks while gasoline inventories were seen falling 500,000 barrels and distillate stocks (including heating oil) were forecast to drop 1.2m barels, according to a poll of analysts by Reuters.

    Crude inventories WOW were steady, products supplied YOY rose, total crude + products stock inventory declined about 6/10 of a percent in a week. People have been buying more oil products in spite of the worse recession since 1982, 1945, or the 1930's depending on whose study you read.

    Demand indeed seems strong in the US considering the crisis. I can understand why some are missing (see other threads) the decline of global demand.

    Interesting that total product inventories are only up slightly from last year (up by 2.2%, from 673 mb last year to 688 mb this year).

    Crude inventories are of course up by a higher percentage, but they remain well below Days of Supply that the industry used to carry in the Eighties. In terms of Days of Supply in excess of MOL, we have gone from about two days of supply to about five days of supply (Feb. 2008 to Feb. 2009).

    In any case, I suspect that voluntary + involuntary net export reductions are beginning to have an effect. I suspect that the net export reductions next year, and in subsequent years, will be mostly involuntary.

    Jeff Rubin: Another oil price spike ahead

    Nice little graph in that report:


    They are sustainable if demand is falling and we don't need new supply... We'll see how long these conditions last-

    I don't think crude imports have been this low outside of hurricane season since 2002, well before the world C&C plateau began.

    EDIT: They were lower early in 2003 actually.

    Oil rallies after drop in crude supply: Government data show surprise decline after weeks of inventory build.

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Oil prices rose Thursday after the government reported that the nation's supplies of crude shrank slightly last week after growing for several weeks.

    Maybe word about the glut at Cushing is getting around, and producers are sending their oil elsewhere?

    Power Surge Causes Explosions In 55 Homes

    Fifty-five homeowners in Minneola were stunned Wednesday when a sudden power surge blew up appliances and caused fire to shoot out of outlets, they ran outside and found the breaker boxes outside their homes were on fire.

    How can "twice the normal amount of power" cause that much damage?

    It's either poorly written or intentionally misleading. That's not a 2x surge, but a 50x voltage cross I'd bet, caused by a maintenance action mistake somewhere at the substation?

    I didn't think that voltages were in the 5 KV range.

    But reading about it, 1200KV is an option. I can't imagine the insulation surviving that in most homes - and romex would be hard to replace VS conduit based systems.

    I think you are pretty close on that guess.

    But I am sure going to run it by my neighbor who is a lineman for our public electric utility.

    In my limited experience, high voltages burn out current carrying conductors creating opens.

    In the other case, crossed voltages, go BOOM !

    I suspect sense the area was small, (from reading the link posted) that what the power company was doing was changing over from a distribution line voltage of 7200V to 14.4kv and some lineman switched in the 14.4 to a 7200v line by mistake, that would double the voltage going into all the houses from 120/240 to 240/480. What really surprises me the most, is that most distribution transformers are fused to a certain current level and those fuses didn't blow. The other case may have been that if it was an older subdivision it may have been using an open 3 wire or 4 wire secondary distribution system, and the lineman may have attached the 7200v directly to the secondary system, and that would have really caused a lot of sparks and fire to fly. In any case you can rest assured the CO-OP will be buying a lot of appliances and replacing a lot of wiring throughout that whole area. They were just lucky, no one was killed or seriously injured.


    I pay the power co a few bucks extra each much for a surge protector installed at my meter. They should be providing this for free to all customers, but this is undoubtedly seen by the power co as a way to rake in some extra $$$. Now I bet that there will be a big push to sell these things to everyone in this power co's service area, and a lot of people will sign up for them. Lots of extra $$$ coming in to the power co. Isn't it an amazing coincidence that this little accident would have that beneficial outcome for the power co?

    I would bet that the new "smart" meters would of necessity include surge protectors. The power company wouldn't want to replace all those meters every time there was a power surge.

    I installed a commercial surge protector on my line downstream of the meter. It cost about $35, as I recall. I did have a lightning strike hit 50 feet from my house, which came in thru an extension line, not the mains. It blew out the microwave, the ballast in a florescent overhead and several CFL's. The breakers are still doing funny things...

    E. Swanson

    Im not sure that a "surge protector" would actually help in this situation.

    If the voltages transfered to the homes were in the 1000's of KV then simple fuses and breakers meant for 100 or 400V ranges wont do the job. That much voltage can jump gaps and pass through insulating materials.

    Youd need a very sturdy surge protector to fully isolate the home from something like that.

    Of course if your conspiracy theory is true - the power company could easily mislead folks with the potential abilities of their device...

    It depends on what actually happened as to whether that surge protector would have helped. A surge protector works by trying to clamp the voltage to a fixed maximum level - if the voltage is above that point it will conduct, dissipating power. If there was enough power behind it that surge many have just popped the surge protector. OTOH, if the surge protector can conduct enough power without failing it might have opened a disconnect on the local line.

    Sometimes higher voltage lines can fall on lower voltage distribution lines. That would be very, very bad.

    A lifted neutral can get real interesting, that
    floats 240 on 120V single phases, but that would only
    affect houses on a single transformer. Seen such take
    appliances out in a condo once, had a dryer lock up once
    - was full of Norway rats, tripped the breaker and the
    inductive load took out 8- 120VAC LED's floods - ouch - $120 later.

    Not even a 2x or 5x voltage can inflict that kind of damage. A little known fact is that most 120.240 V equipment is actually suitable for 600 V. This applies to more recent electrical equipment as the insulation "default" level is 600V.

    I suspect someone crossed the high voltage side to the low voltage side. A 12 KV or 14.4 kV line was inadvertently connected to the 120/240 V side. Now that would cause residential devices to blow out and catch fire. Furthermore, the surge would be quick enough to get past regular circuit breakers, or fuse them closed.

    Just for fun, I'll send some links to some online video for Arc Flash that shows what happens when this stuff really blows up...

    As I type, the water well drilling continues... last week as guest were set to arrive, the well collasped and choked up with clay. Remember my earlier post about the neighbor up the street? She got away with a new pump. Me, not so much. At $20/ft I hope we get something good before 400ft. Yesterday he made 90ft in 3 hours - cap rock he thinks. And now he's going to need foam because the lifting is getting heavy. And the rig is old.

    He said of the four permits issued for drilling so far this month, three were to him. Activity has slowed way down, but the sucking of the water table never stops. The fight continues against inappropriate development for this area even while the drought continues and wells run dry. Recently our group discovered a developer nearby put in a huge VANITY pond at the site entrance and filled it with well water!

    Interesting to watch the drilling process and see how much is involved. There would not be near the number of people living here were it not for the utility of oil.

    And this just arrived in my inbox.

    Dear FA (Friendship Alliance) Friends, Neighbors and Members,

    For those of us in Northern and Central Hays County whose homes are dependent on well-water, which is tens of thousands of us, there is almost no greater public and economic concern than maintaining the integrity and safety of this resource. It directly affects the value of our homes and the quality of our lives. And...as we are beginning to discover, the new subdivisions that are using LCRA surface water, are generally unconcerned about our existing needs as they pump the resource down to feed their lawns and their landscaping, while drinking their own personal water from the LCRA.

    While this egregious over-pumping has been at best, rude and short-sighted, it has not been illegal or regulated. Even worse than that, subdivisions such as Belterra, who already overuse our groundwater resource for their cosmetic irrigation needs, are now proposing to pollute this resource with their sewage effluent discharge into the very creeks that feed this watershed. Those of us who understand the fragile nature of our porous, limestone aquifer here are fully aware of the threat that this presents to our homes, to our families and to our property values, not to mention our creeks and springs. Meanwhile, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the one state entity that would by name seem to be tasked to protect us and our groundwater, is instead poised to approve the permits for these precedent setting and polluting sewage treatment plants....

    The TCEQ is a joke.

    I understand your frustration Edgy. I haven't dealt with the TCEQ but have butted heads with the LCRA. Eventually I came to learn that theie authority was unquestionable. Sort of like the Supreme Court of Water. Any technical argument against a position they held was meaningless. They make their decisions and no one in Texas seems to have the right to question let along disallow their efforts.

    Sounds like WORK finding water in Texas, Edgy!

    Four hunnert feet is a bit more than we need to dig here in W Oregon, where the static water table is at 15-20', and the sand layer that I draw from is around 75-85'. Still, I ended up paying more like $60/ft. by the time it was all done. At least I didn't have to pay for water rights.

    The biggest worry here isn't recharge or contamination, it's TOO MUCH WATER. Sometimes these wells go artesian in the Winter, and there's no way to turn 'em off! But I get free Fe, Ca and Mg for the garden in my 12gal/min. flow, and no chlorine, fluoride, or THM's.

    Hello Nelsone,

    The access to easy water in Cascadia is the main reason why I speculate so many will be moving there postPeak, plus any other areas where the water table is shallow and/or surface water is plentiful.

    Compare to Central Arizona Project [CAP] whereby Colorado River water is moved to Phx and Tucson from the CA/AZ border:


    The CAP is a system of canals, pumping stations and storage facilities that brings water 336 miles from the Colorado River at Lake Havasu east to the Phoenix area and then south to the Tucson area. Fourteen pumping plants lift water 2,400 feet in elevation to the terminus.
    Just be glad that your well doesn't have to be 2400 feet deep. Imagine a five gallon water jug in each hand, then hiking out of the mile-deep Grand Canyon daily to get a rough idea of how much energy goes to moving just 20 gals of our AZ water.

    "Water flows uphill to Money." :(

    Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

    Blind Economists and Bad Assumptions:

    Short-term data and long-term assumptions that fail to consider "a return to robust growth may not occur" at all.

    January leading indicators up; recession's intensity to ease

    "The index is designed to forecast economic activity six to nine months ahead..."

    "The second half of 2009 may see a period of anemic growth," said Ken Goldstein, economist at the Conference Board. "In fact, a return to robust growth may not occur until well into 2010, even if the long climb starts a few months from now."


    Mish on the Fed Heads:

    Can Tax Cuts Deepen The Recession?

    In one of the more ridiculous Keynesian theories to date, Gauti B. Eggertsson at the New York Fed comes to the conclusion Tax Cuts Will Deepen The Recession.

    The belief is based on a bunch of incomprehensible (to the non-economist) equations...

    I am not going to bother explaining that chart either because the number of assumptions that go into the charts and formulas is staggering.


    The Looming Collapse of European Banking

    The West's economy really is at the edge of a leveraged disaster. The politicians know only one answer: deficit spending. The central bankers have only on significant tool: monetary inflation. The speed of events is increasing.

    The markets don't reflect this yet. This gives time to a few people to get out. But the vast majority cannot get out. There are too few escape hatches open.

    "In my view, the European public still has faith that the governments and the central banks will successfully intervene to restore commercial banks.

    But if the original article was correct, that 44% of bank balance sheets have disappeared, then the public is living in la-la land. The entire structure of Europe's capital markets is at risk. Or, I should say, what remains of the capital markets is at risk. "

    I think that applies to the USofA as well - with public disclosure we would find the hole is too deep to fill and it would be timezUp, game over.

    I disagree that "the public" has faith the government and bankers. I think most of the public are so distracted they are barely aware there is a problem.


    About the Media's Hiding of the Truth:

    "The banking system of Europe is at the edge of the abyss. A brief story by The Telegraph revealed this last week. The original was almost immediately deleted. A new version was substituted... "

    I've seen this several times now with the BBC. Not long ago they had an excellent article about the hardships during past economic breakdowns in europe that included discussion of cannibalism... and within 24 hours the original, honest article disappeared and a pathetic, watered down version replaced it.

    Save room on the gallows for the editors... they can line up behind the banksters.

    In this same vein of discussion, here's an interesting article about what Putin said in Davos recently....

    Putin: Post-US World Blueprint

    Putin was specific in key areas. He did not lay out many details to flesh out his planks. He kept some close to his vest. The barter accords are a work in progress, actually a revolutionary shift. He was not going to offer up details of his ‘End Run’ plans. But he offered four main recommendations that make a great deal of sense, a starting point:

    1. Get real and declare hopeless debt securities as bad assets, and write them off. The current crisis will only be prolonged unless the balance sheets are cleaned up. A liquidation process is essential. (The refusal for banks to come clean has resulted in extreme constipation for the credit system, while the patient slowly falls into mud.)

    2. Get rid of virtual money, exaggerated reports, and dubious credit ratings on financial securities. He wishes for fundamental asset values to be determined by the ability to generate added value, apart from subjective models. (He refers indirectly to credit derivatives and futures contracts, the artificial mechanisms to control price structures, those onerous devices that act as pseudo-money.)

    3. Get away from the single reserve currency system, which he regards as dangerous. Instead, install several strong reserve currencies in a smooth and irreversible switch. (This is the unofficial death knell of the USDollar itself, for alternatives in usage.)

    4. Get currency reliability for foreign reserves management, which can be used by other states. This can be achieved by enabling more open monetary policies, and enforcing economic and financial discipline. (This will enable regional stability and cooperation.)

    Putin openly called the current unipolar world obsolete, referring indirectly to the US-UK dominance. This is as close as one could come to hearing that the current system is one step from the scrap heap. Unfortunately, chaos reigns as leadership is absent, insolvency rains down as economic troubles all over, and no leaders seem capable of pulling back the reins. Putin urged a new system of global regulators, an obvious slap at the unspeakably corrupt Securities & Exchange Commission (for stocks) and the unspeakably corrupt Commodity Futures Trading Commission (for commodities). Each is a lapdog steeped in conflict of interest, paid to look the other way to criminal activity, with no urge to prosecute their friends. The SEC and CFTC have been team players for the four major US-based crime syndicates in order for them to conduct their business. They are parasites to the system, while the syndicates spread cancers. Putin all but said to eliminate the Intl Monetary Fund and World Bank. Putin wants to see shared technology across borders. This is a slap against the US, which refuses to export advanced computer technology and telecommunications technology.

    I will be attending a "community visioning" workshop next week with our new city commission. To their credit, the two new members have teamed with one of the old to nudge the old domineering city manager out and are making real efforts to open up to more community input.

    I plan to take the opportunity to push for a community garden. I am under no illusion that the town will suddenly put one in the budget, but I do want to get the idea out there. The schedule/agenda appears pretty vague at present and I doubt I will get more than just a couple of minutes - so here is my request for all reading this;

    If you had 2 or 3 minutes to promote the community garden idea to an audience who may not even know what a community garden is, what would you concentrate on?

    I greatly appreciate any and all ideas. I've posted this over on the campfire, as well.

    I'd suggest bringing in your local food bank as a partner, and make some production on the site dedicated for the food bank, using volunteer labor. The food bank should become an enthusiastic partner, and it will be very hard for your city council to say no to them.

    Be prepared to answer the question "How much will this cost?". The next question will probably be "Are you in this for the long haul? How do we know you won't make a mess for the city to clean up later?"

    Good luck!

    If you had 2 or 3 minutes to promote the community garden idea to an audience who may not even know what a community garden is, what would you concentrate on?


    I'm attending a day-long workshop on how to start a community garden on Saturday. If I learn anything useful, I'll return to your Campfire post and reply there.


    Hi Lilith,

    Hope you find the workshop productive.

    Let me ask something about the idea of those gardens.

    What if some of those who join end up not doing their share of the work? Then they still get a shot at the production end?

    How does one control that without a lot of bickering?

    My thought is that it sounds good in principle but who is to be the 'gate keeper' then?

    Let us know how it works out if you would.

    I am anxiously awaiting time to plant my seed potatoes. I see that seed potatoes have arrived in our local hardware store. All of TWO bags and already spoken for!!!!

    Last spring a lot of seedlings,sets and slips were not to be found.

    I managed to get a few bags of onions to set. I had to use my own seed potatoes.

    Twere I you I would get an early run on the seed sellers. I have saved most all of mine from this fall so I am ok. I don't like the packaged seed packets on the racks. I now save all my own.

    Good luck


    It's interesting that you mentioned seeds since I just placed our seed orders yesterday. Like you, I save a lot of seed but I'm trying some new stuff this year. Anyway, out of five companies where I placed orders, one no longer offered the seed I wanted even though it was in their current catalog and two others had back orders for several other varieties I wanted. I've been ordering seed for a long time and never saw it happen to this extent.


    I got a bit of a headsup last spring and saved all I could.
    I have plenty of seed potatoes but onions I have none of.

    Rest I am ok with.

    I think there might be bad shortages. I am starting to see shortages in other areas.

    For instance reloading equipment. Dealers say they can't get any more orders filled. They just shrug their shoulders. I guess I will have to just squirrel hunt with a 22 instead of venison or whatever.

    I think we will also start to see shortages of auto parts. I had trouble the other day getting a set of new tires for my jeep. I heard the dealer on the phone telling his supplier that he was almost totally out of new tires.


    I got plenty of heirloom garden seeds last fall -- enough for at least 3 years even if I plant a good bit (I'll run out if I have to try to live off the land, though!).

    Ammo I think I have enough for years, unless I end up in full-fledged fire-fights. For shooting at varmints and deer I have a good bit. Didn't get the reloading supplies yet, but maybe I should? I saw most supplies at Bass Pro, except the 308 jig. In fact, 308 is hard to find around here -- as soon as it hits the shelves somebody will clear it all out, regardless of brand or type.

    I suppose seeds will be yet another currency in a few years?

    Hi, Airdale---

    Those are good questions. I don't know how those issues are resolved - the only type of community garden I have any experience of are the ones where each person is assigned an "allotment" or portion of the garden to grow whatever they want. Then, of course, if they don't work their parcel, they don't "get a shot at the production end." And, they lose their parcel. Rules are usually established by the organizing group at the outset.

    A major reason for my interest in the workshop is that we had a community garden in our neighborhood, but it was taken away by developers. The gardeners were promised another site nearly two years ago, but so far it has not materialized. And, due to the economy, the planned construction was first stalled, and now appears not going to happen after all. Yet still the gardeners are in limbo - unable to go back to their original plot, and shuffled around the neighborhood. Various sites have been suggested, but there was always some objection - e.g. parents didn't want it by a school, didn't want gardeners parking near another site (ignoring the fact that most of the gardeners walked to their allotments much of the time) - all kinds of BS reasons.

    Basically, many people in this neighborhood are just ignorant or in denial about the major changes in store for us and the need for people to grow at least some of their own food.

    Nevertheless, the garden was popular among some - there was a waiting list for allotments. I was on the list and offered one a couple of years ago, but that was just after my health problems came to a head and I had major surgery. So I gave it up b/c I didn't think I would be able to work it in addition to my home garden.

    (By the way, I agree wholeheartedly with what you've written in the past about fresh air, physical work, eating what you grow, and health. Regaining my health is a major reason (along with energy and economic issues) for my gardening project. We could have a good conversation about all that.)

    RE the seeds - Sharon Astyk warned about this on her blog awhile back. So I got my orders in then. I also save some seed, and plan to expand on that.



    My local CSA farm requires you to sign up for a certain amount of work, as well as pay for the veggies. There's a schedule. If you are physically incapable of working, they will make an exception. I believe you can also pay more and avoid the required hours of work, but most people seem to want to learn about farming. If you don't show up for your shift, you're booted and not allowed to re-join.

    If the Inflation at the wholesale level is up, and the companies can't pass on the increased costs to the consumer, then what? Less operating cash, more job losses to balance the books?

    Denninger posted about this today. He doesn't think there's really inflation. The price of raw materials is going down, despite the increase in the price of finished goods shown in today's report.

    So what does this report mean?

    Simple: Manufacturers are attempting to increase prices into ramping unemployment in a desperate attempt to maintain their operating margins.

    It won't work. Trying to increase prices into ramping unemployment leads to a collapse in demand and ultimately business failure.

    Speaking of business failure...
    Bulk Petroleum files for protection from creditors

    Mequon-based Bulk Petroleum Corp., which supplies gasoline to over 200 gas stations throughout the country, has filed to reorganize its finances under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[snip] Last year's record-setting spike in oil prices hurt Bulk Petroleum, Dunn said, by making it more expensive for the company to buy gasoline. Some, but not all, of those higher prices could be passed on to the gas station operators supplied by Bulk Petroleum, he said.

    Don't know about Denningers take but from what I observe some prices are not going down and the merchandise is getting a lot shoddier.

    Food for sure. I can hardly stand to eat what they call ground beef. So full of bone chips,gristle and sinews. I have to throw some of it out.

    What I think is happening is that stores are on the edge of going out of business so they could care less about customer loyalty or service.

    They dump junk on us and call it food or whatever. The gloves in other words have been taken off. There is fading competition.

    I ate dinner at an Outback a few days ago. The service was bad. The blooming onion was scorched and unedible. The waiter got really pissed when I told him to replace it. Gave us dirty looks. The beer was not up to snuff either.

    I had stomach aches for two days there after.

    The eggs I buy seem to have been in cold storage along with the 'frozen caveman lawyer'. Have no real taste. Lots of excess mucus or whatever that white shit is in the eggs. They don't fall out of the shell so you have to encourage them. I think they won't keep long either.


    "World heads for 'water bankruptcy', says Davos report"


    "The report said that energy production accounts for about 39 percent of all water used in the United States and 31 percent of water withdrawals in the EU. Only three percent is actually consumed, but competition for access to water will intensify over the next two decades.

    Water requirements for energy are expected to grow by as much as 165 percent in the United States and 130 percent in the EU, putting a major "squeeze" on water for agriculture, said the WEF."

    Hey Soup,

    Thxs for this link:
    Corporate chiefs at the forum have also expressed concern. "I am convinced that, under present conditions and considering the way water is being currently managed, we will run out of water long before we run out of fuel," said Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of Swiss food conglomerate Nestle.
    That is certainly NOT good news. Then add in PostPeak FF-decline & ELM FF-shortages: this could make Water Resource Wars arrive even more quickly and be especially vicious and ruthless.

    How do totoneila - About running out of water before running out of fuel, I guess we need to learn to drink fuel. Hey, maybe we should have switched over to ethanol.

    My in laws in Litchfield Park out your way just picked up another house on their block. That makes three that they own now. Too good a deal to pass up LOL.

    I keep telling them about the all constraints comming down the road but they say they will make a killing selling them when the economy bounces back. AAAAARrrrrrGGGGggg!

    "I guess we need to learn to drink fuel."

    All the more reason for everyone to do the Peakoil Shoutout when their favorite yeasty beverage reaches half-empty.

    Sorry to read about your in-laws loading up on property. I can understand your frustration.

    Surprised (LOL) not to find this up top. The National Snow and Ice Data Center announced that its Arctic ice measuring equipment (satelite based) is totally kaput and had been giving bad readings for 2 months prior to going down. At least 500,000 sq/km more Arctic ice than has been previously reported.


    They are not the only source for ice data. How nice of them to announce it so you wingnuts can make hay with it.

    Frankly, I'm glad the NSIDC data was bad: I was getting very worried.

    Try these http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de:8084/amsr/amsre.html


    If all that is required to be a wingnut is to disagree with concensus, then most of this forum is a wingnut.

    No. I think it's 'Disagreeing without data'..


    As JoulesBurn says, there's a vast difference between peak oil and climate change, as far as the "consensus" goes.

    Basically, there is no scientific consensus on peak oil. Science has chosen to ignore it, ceding the topic to the economists. Because of this, there's a place for amateurs like us.

    That is not the case with climate change. That will be settled in the peer-reviewed journals, not by bloggers.

    IMHO the reason peak oil as we understand it is not in the high tech science realm, any damn fool knows that if you have a finite amount and you keep taking something from it, sooner or later you will have a supply crunch.

    The three problems with the concept are:

    1. Some seem to think that oil is created all the time and not from ancient sunlight.

    2. Some seem to think that peak oil is about running out of oil.

    3. Even if everything about peak oil is true, we are all screwed and no one in TPTB can/will do anything about it.

    Again IMHO CNG, propane, alternates, only add a few more years to the overall situation that we are heading back to some less desirable circumstance eventually. When peak everything is considered, this old graph may very well be accurate.



    1. I think the abiotic oil crowd is pretty small and not taken seriously by most people, even non-peak oilers.

    2. Almost everyone agrees that oil won't last forever. The question is when the peak will be. Peak oilers think it will be soon. The USGS thinks it won't be for another thirty years or so. So it's really a question of timing.

    3. This is probably the area of greatest disagreement. The mainstream view, which is pretty much the economists' view, is that price will fix the problem. High prices will encourage new extraction techniques, and when those aren't enough or become too expensive, we'll transition seamlessly to nuclear or solar or zero point energy or whatever.

    Even a lot of peak oilers seem to think that the main problem with this scenario is that it might not be seamless. Deffeyes and Simmons, for example, seem to think we'll have a rough decade or two, then continue on with renewable energy.

    Whether renewables can support a complex society is the big question, IMO, and it's one that very few are studying.

    Well said, Leanan!

    Your Quote: "Whether renewables can support a complex society is the big question, IMO, and it's one that very few are studying."

    [See my posting at bottom of today's DB]: I think it would be fascinating if the US or UN could somehow find the funding to go 'whole hog' on Easter Island. The world's best experts, with the best methods, and full-on Peak Outreach to give it our all on this island. We could learn so much that could be applied elsewhere...

    Whether renewables can support a complex society is the big question, IMO, and it's one that very few are studying

    I have ordered Ted Trainer's recent book titled, plainly enough, Renewable Energy Cannot Sustain a Consumer Society. Apparently he has studied the matter and come to a conclusion.

    Sounds interesting.

    However, that leaves open the possibility that we could have a complex society that is not as consumerist as the current one. Which many peak oilers would take exception to.

    A question I've often pondered: Will we ever be able to produce wind tubines, solar panels and the likes from wind turbines, solar panels and the likes??

    Bang on Pembo!

    This is why Gail The Actuary and others prefer to call various technologies fossil fuel extenders, rather than renewable energy. I like the term alternative energy.

    Like a snake eating its tail, so-called renewables must be able to stand on their own after fossil fuel inputs are removed, but what about the ore trucks (diesel over electric) for copper, iron et al? What about ethanol, without oil based fertilizers and pesticides?

    More and more, I am convinced that we simply have to work our way through our collective denial. It could have been done faster, simpler and easier but we are the beast that we are.

    We have a present bounty of energy and we will eventually descend to a solar budget. Within that budget we will find a new equilibrium.

    The mystery is in the nature of the transition. Likely, unicorns will not be part of it.

    And that is why I keep reading. The rest of technocratic scientist Boulder is unshakeable in their faith in technology. There are only a handful of people I can be honest with about my concerns (and they are working with the Transition Town initiative). Wingnuts rule!

    From your link

    Sensor drift is a perfect but unfortunate example of the problems encountered in near-real-time analysis. We stress, however, that this error in no way changes the scientific conclusions about the long-term decline of Arctic sea ice, which is based on the the consistent, quality-controlled data archive discussed above.

    And as the sensor degraded slowly at first only about 2 weeks of data was badly underestimated. Ice extent is still well below average even after the correction.

    Oh thank God, now this whole global warming think is de-bunked and I can stop worrying about it. What a relief - you are my hero.

    How terrible! We might be losing sea ice only twice as fast as predicted!

    Just change the prediction and you can completely eliminate the problem. That is what mental models are for; you can easily accommodate any sort of bad, inconvenient data.

    I notice there's no disagreement in the area of the North Atlantic to the northeast of Greenland. The fact is that the Odden Ice Tongue hasn't appeared this year, just as there wasn't one last year. That feature is the "hook" seen in the red line of historical extent shown on the NSIDC Figure 1. The Odden has been associated with an area of sinking that's part of the THC.

    The implication is that the inflow of warmer water from the Gulf Stream is also missing in the area. That could explain the colder conditions reported this winter down wind over the British Isles and Northern Europe. Without the pool of warmer water, the winds could not be warmed as much as in previous years. A similar situation might have occurred in the 1970's, when winters were colder as well. About the same time, tracer data from the Greenland Sea indicated that the THC in the region had stopped for a period of time.

    I wish all those denialist wingnuts would wake up...

    E. Swanson

    In the story about the auto company bailouts they mentioned a plan for the Government to give a $10,000 tax break to anyone trading an old gas guzzling vehicle for a new energy efficient one.
    Sounds great at first, but think about it. The people driving old gas guzzlers are doing so because they don't have much income - So they don't have much tax to pay, hence a $10,000 TAX BREAK doesn't do them any good.
    However Mr. Big Bucks can go out and buy a couple of $500 junkers and drive them to the new car dealer and buy a new "fuel efficient" hybrid SUV each for himself and his wife and take $20,000 off of his taxes.
    Great way to help low income people buy a new fuel efficient vehicle - Right?
    Guess I'll probably have to keep driving my paid for 10 MPG rusted out gas hog a bit longer.
    The more I hear coming out of Congress and the Executive branch, the more convinced I am that "Government is not the solution, Government is the problem!"

    It mentioned a tax "Credit" which is different from a tax "break".

    With a tax credit everyone gets the same amount (like a stimulus check) its not a simple deductable. So anyone - even folks who pay no taxes and get welfare or disability would be eligable.

    After Sunday’s Daytona 500 victory by Roush-Fenway NASCAR team driver Matt Kenseth, Roush was back at his headquarters outside Detroit this week to promote his company’s new line of propane-fueled Ford trucks and vans.

    Propane powered vehicles. Someone should clue this guy in that the source for much of our propane comes from oil. As I sit typing this up, my little catalytic propane heater providing me with a smidgen of warmth, I ponder how many vehicles it would take to drive up propane prices substantially. From what I remember reading, the propane supply systems in most areas wouldn't be able to handle much more demand.

    Exactly Durandal. When I began in the oil patch 33 years ago we either gave NG away or burned it just to get rid of it. Seldom had any market value. So folks began utilizing because it was cheap. And we know how that story goes.

    Yes...let's forget about the propane fuel car chatter. NG, being more plentiful locally, has been offered as the motor fuel of the future. Certainly better for the environment and our trade imbalances. But what of future NG prices should it become the next motor fuel of choice? Easy to predict....supply/demand dynamics just don't change much regardless of the commodity.

    I have a truck which is dual fuel - CNG and regular unleaded. I bought it because I have anticipated shortages in unleaded, and the worst thing that can happen to me (I think) is to have wells running and not be able to get to them to take care of them or shut them off. While I have trimmed the overall distance between the farthest outlying wells, and saved a lot of fuel in the process, I remain concerned about that. I have however, noted that I get about 80% of the mileage using the gas gallon equivalents, how I pay for the natural gas, between CNG and unleaded. At oil changes, the motor oil is unusually clean.

    It is going to take many years for us to make wholesale changes in fuel for even a large number of over the road hauling, and longer for light truckks and passenger vehicles. I have been told that the City of Oklahoma City had a lot of extra maintenance on CNG busses, and credited that to the heavy loads coupled with frequent stopping and starting. There is a lot of engineering to be done to make that a reality.

    The experience I have had leads me to think that with the gas shale plays, seeing the drilling cancellations they have had to go through, and the number of these shale plays, we have enough gas to help us transition away from personal vehicles for most daily driving, and still have gasoline/diesel and CNG as power sources for the driving which has to be done, like me checking my oil and gas leases.

    Just like in the electric supply markets, we are going to need all kinds of sources. People are not going to give up BAU until we get enough folks in gov't who have the cojones to make them. Reelection plans become too important to incentivize leadership.

    Oil price jumps 12% to $38.89 as supply drops -
    Government data shows surprise decline after weeks of inventory build. OPEC production cuts "may" be the cause.........

    I believe that when we see gas prices start to take off and I mean really increase as the price of oil finally does break loose ....then all hell will shortly follow.

    I think there will be no stopping it. There will be 'shock and awe'.
    But we still got some more meltdowns to go thru first.


    Looks like the price of oil is creeping up. Had any luck in convincing your neighbors to start cutting all that downed wood into firewood for next winter? Better yet, start making wood pellets.

    E. Swanson

    Hey Ignorant,

    Don't forget, tomorrow is the expiration of the March contract, which gained $4.24 to close at $38.86. The big price jump could just be short covering. Only a year ago, the WTI was $100.75. The April contract was up $2.26 to close at $39.67.

    E. Swanson

    A few days back there was a post about the impact of this downturn on the psychology of a generation.

    Well, we're officially in a Major Event like the Great Depression or 9/11 because it's made it to the country music scene. I happened upon this by John Rich while channel-hopping on my way to lunch:

    My daddy taught me that in this country everyone’s the same
    You work hard for your dollar and you never pass the blame
    When it don’t go your way
    Now I see all these big shots whinin’ on my evening news
    About how they’re losin’ billions and how it’s up to me and you
    To come running to the rescue
    Well pardon me if I don’t shed a tear ‘cause they’re selling make believe
    And we don’t buy that here

    Cause in the real world there shutting Detroit down
    While the boss man takes his bonus pay and jets out of town/
    And DC’s bailing out the bankers as the farmers auction ground,
    Yeah while they’re living it up on Wall Street in that New York City town,
    Here in the real world there shuttin’ Detroit down.
    They’re shuttin’ Detroit down.

    I think this time the result is not going to be a group of college kids having sit-ins to protest war, though.

    I like this Meredith Whitney gal. In my limited ability to understand the banking mess, her proposal is to prop up (tarp up) the banks that didn't make all the bad loans instead of the ones that did (BofA, Citi, etc).
    I think this is not really a new idea...seems I heard it somewhere before but I think needs repeating:


    Those of you who made fun of JHK predicting DJ 4000 may want to consider that perhaps he was only a bit wrong on the timing. And as Orlov recently said, all predictions regarding collapse should automatically be interpreted as "plus or minus half a decade".

    Yeah, but at least in my case, it was his timing I was making fun of, not the number. In the long run, we're all dead. And so is the DJ. It was his saying it would be within the year that I thought was unreasonable.

    That said...the CNBC hairdos are sounding an awful lot like Denninger tonight. And Denninger is calling for a revolution, and suggesting the media who were lazy or complicit should be near the top of the list for the pitchforks and torches treatment.

    A bubble always falls back to the trend, right? There are two trends in the S&P prior to the recent two bubbles. The first runs from 1950 through about 1985. If you draw a line it you end up at a point about 400. The second trend runs from 1985 to 1995 and points to between 800 and 900.

    It was absolutely certain we would be falling back to the second trend line. For me, the question was, would we go all the way back to the first? Given we are in the early stages of of this mess still, the answer is a resounding yes, so far as I can tell.


    Don't know.

    BTW, the same is true for the DOW, but the numbers are 2k and 8k


    Hello TODers,

    Given their previous history, you would think that if there was anyplace on the Planet that should be trying really hard to be truly sustainable as we go postPeak, it would be Easter Island:

    ..there were just 111 people living on Easter Island, and only 36 of them had any offspring.[12]

    ..From that point on and into the present day, the island's population slowly recovered.

    ..Population at the 2002 census was 3,791 (3,304 in Hanga Roa alone). 60% were Rapanui, Chileans of European or mestizo descent were 39% of the population, and the remaining 1% were Native Americans from mainland Chile.
    You would think the Chilean Govt. would be moving these people to the mainland ahead of Peak Everything. Or else having a full-blown program for Windturbines, PVs, reforestation and topsoil rehabilitation, bicycles & wheelbarrows [SpiderWebRiding too?], O-NPK recycling, and so on.

    If the Chilean Govt suddenly abandons them to repeat their postPeak fate again [how soon might that be?]: I sure hope the "Survivor" tv show has thought ahead by installing plenty of heavily protected, long lasting webcams so we can watch how the game is really played...

    How long until the Rapanui tip over the stoneheads again in anger and frustration?

    The Dow finished today below 7500 at 7465.95, a subtle 1.19% drop, but enough to break the 7552.29 floor set on November 20th, 2008 and creeping downward towards the 7286 low mark set on October 9th, 2002. Another couple of hundred points and the overall market value will erase any numerical gains since the Clinton bull of the 1990s.

    The 3rd Millennium, it seems, has added nothing of value to our accumulated measures of wealth.

    Somewhat surprisingly, the S&P and NASDAQ are not sporting new lows yet -- they still have a couple of percent to go. I suppose that's because the biggest companies played the biggest games, and the smaller ones are just sliding down the slope behind them.

    With two big bailouts announced this week, it's unclear where any more good market news will come from. I think we're in a slow slide for a while, punctuated by drops for bad econ data and bumps for new bail-outs.

    Everybody I know is bearish now -- I'm no longer alone!

    Everybody I know is bearish now -- I'm no longer alone!

    We haven't joined the crowd. They've joined us.

    Doomers rock!!

    Asian markets are down tonight as well. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see all the major indices at new lows and about half their 52-wk highs in the next week or so. I think it is likely that the Nasdaq and S&P will join the DOW at new lows sooner rather than later.

    Disclaimer: I own zero stocks.

    When everybody is bearish it is time to be bullish.

    Only when the situation is cyclical.

    Bearish indeed!

    What I have noticed lately is successive small drops with no rallies, weak or otherwise. Usually in a selloff, good stocks get carried down as well, only to be snapped up the following day. As they say, "sell on rumor, buy on facts", but now I see none of that. Falling days are followed by flat days.

    My guess is that people are slowly accepting that major bank losses must be accounted for sooner rather than later, but no one knows exactly when.

    When that day comes, I expect a series of ~-800 point days.

    Also there are almost as many Alt-A and Option ARM first time resets coming up as there have been Sub-primes reset so far. Most of these upcoming mortgages have been securitized, i.e. toxic.

    To add to the fun, commercial properties failures are expected due to retail closures, estimated at over 200,000 units this year. A lot of these will be large anchor tenants. The upside is the malls would make pretty good dormitories.

    IMO, any sort of a recovery within 12 months is a fantasy.

    Beer anyone?


    Outside the realm of what I think, the business heads at my company believe that if there is no uptick in revenue (TY/LY) by 3rd & 4th QTR this year, then this downturn will be "protracted". They keep the "ray of hope" alive publically, but most believe this "downturn" is here for awhile.

    If Denninger's late post has any validity, the day of reckoning might be very soon, backing my claim.

    There may be a false uptick as the stimulus package trickles down, but I think it will be minor due to the huge sucking sponge called consumer debt. People are now scared so don't expect Gap and Banana Republic to experience a phoenix-like resurgence.

    "Irrational exuberance" may prevail because people are so fed up with gloomy numbers, but it will be short lived and those responding to the nudge (I can't call it a "bump") will be sorely disappointed, and much poorer for their enthusiasm.

    We are going to enter a phase of CRAP, or Concerted Retrenchment for Asset Protection.

    I am pleasantly surprised that many of the the sheeple realize that the party is over, in spite of the cheerleaders' braying.

    Simply put, there is no downside to living simpler as, or if, one realizes that buying $HIT, or Sexy High Intensity Treats does not happiness make.

    Because the production, transport, marketing, distribution and vending of said $HIT involves much of the workforce, things will become complicated.

    I'd say the stimulus packages are having a significant effect. Gold is now at $1000 this morning.

    Well, I could introduce you to a couple of my coworkers.

    Before leaving this evening, they told me that:

    "Oh man, you should be putting as much money as you can into stocks right no!"


    "Yeah, I'm dumping 3x the money into my 401k!"

    I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at these well-meaning, but utterly misguided souls.

    Hello TODers,

    I hope everyone goes over to Bart's EB to read the latest. The study is only 23 pages and is very, very well written,IMO.

    Giant oil field decline rates and their influence on world oil production.
    by Mikael Höök, Robert Hirsch, and Kjell Aleklett
    I think it definitely sets off more alarms. Let's hope Roscoe Bartlett, Congressman from Maryland, hands out copies to everyone on Capital Hill.

    Hey Westexas,

    You need to get Khebab to statistically rework your simple ELM model: it is too optimistic. Khebab now needs to postPeak factor in:

    .15 accelerating decline X ELM accelerating decline

    We are not just heading the train off a cliff--we are heading into a 'freefall vacuum' whereby gravity can really max out our final impact velocity.

    That's what is happening in Mexico--the production decline rate has been accelerating, as the Cantarell decline really kicks in.

    The North Sea model for the world is interesting. The initial three year decline was quite low; it really accelerated in the fourth year, which would be analogous to 2009 for the world.

    the Congressman didn't read their own bill, why would they read a pamphlet from Bartlett? They've heard his rant before, and now oil price is down. It must be a non-issue.

    There has never been a better time to embargo their oil exports than now. They export 4mb/d but import 2mb/d products, the 2mb/d net is less than opec cuts. And the sunni arabs don't want the shia persians to get the bomb.

    Interesting idea j but since we don't export products to Iran how would we accomplish this?

    "If such a quantity were further enriched..."

    That step is hardly trivial.

    Also, Iran is under great scrutiny, and Israel is playing for all the marbles, as if its very existence depends on it. Iran, reference Syria.

    And Japan has enough for hundreds. So?